It seems fitting, on a long weekend which celebrates an abundance of treats and wearing stretchy pants to dinner, to discuss the benefits of chocolate as a pre and post recovery running food.
Scientific research shows that a blend of carbohydrates and protein, in a ratio of four grams of carbohydrate to one gram of protein, is effective in promoting muscle recovery following endurance exercise. The ratio of carbohydrates to protein in a 12 oz serving of chocolate milk is the perfect example of recovery fuel.
If you do not eat dairy a piece of dark chocolate or raw cacao are great pre and post recovery foods. Cacao (ka·cow) is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. It can be a healthy addition to your breakfast or snacks as it can enhance your smoothie or morning oatmeal. Raw chocolate can lower blood pressure & improve circulation. Cacao can support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.
A small piece of dark chocolate, three times a day has proven to have great health benefits. It lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow to your brain and it also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Dark Chocolate is High in Vitamins and Minerals. Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health: potassium, copper, magnesium and iron. It is can also assist in stabilizing your blood sugar which is a benefit when you are training for longer distances and races.
So if you have eaten a bit more chocolate than normal, this holiday weekend, rest assured there are a few added benefits to this holiday treat and it serves a great post recovery food or drink. Still feeling guilty? Hopefully a couple extra days off work will allow you to add more mileage and enjoy a few more runs to your weekend.